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Cablegate: Pt Factions and Tendencies - a Primer

VZCZCXRO8868
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0742/01 2471909
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041909Z SEP 07
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7415
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8529
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2849
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 3090
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0546
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2422
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 3467
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 2124
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8295
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 3752
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 2885
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SAO PAULO 000742

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC, INR/IAA, INR/R/AA
STATE PASS USTR FOR KATE DUCKWORTH
NSC FOR TOMASULO
TREASURY FOR OASIA, DAS LEE AND JHOEK
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/OLAC
USDOC ALSO FOR 3134/USFCS/OIO
DOL FOR ILAB
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
USAID FOR LAC/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR ELAB ECON BR
SUBJECT: PT FACTIONS AND TENDENCIES - A PRIMER

REF: (A) BRASILIA 1670; (B) SAO PAULO 734;
(C) SAO PAULO 496; (D) SAO PAULO 129;
(E) 06 SAO PAULO 1264; (F) 06 SAO PAULO 1105;
(G) 05 BRASILIA 2951 AND PREVIOUS

SAO PAULO 00000742 001.4 OF 004


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) President Lula's Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores -
PT), faces a number of challenges as it looks towards a post-Lula
future. The centrist, pragmatic "Majority Camp" currently occupies
the strongest position in the party, but does not dominate. The CM
is increasingly challenged by rivals who blame it for the corruption
scandals that have plagued the party since 2005. In addition,
"tendencies" on the far left want the party to return to its more
leftist roots, as they see many of Lula's economic policies running
counter to their core philosophies. These power struggles from
within the party may well decide not only who runs for President of
Brazil in 2010, but the very future of the PT. Septel will address
highlights of the Third National Congress and will look more deeply
into the PT's 2010 presidential prospects. End Summary.

------------------------
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
------------------------

2. (U) Founded in 1980 by trade unionists, leftist intellectuals,
elements of the Catholic Church, and splinter groups unable to find
a home in the Communist or Socialist parties, the PT has always been
something of a hodgepodge. Its base includes big labor - most
importantly the Unified Workers' Center (CUT) - the Rural Workers'
Landless Movement (MST), and the National Students' Union (UNE). A
number of factions or "tendencies," organized around ideology,
personality, or ambition, compete for influence. Twelve different
groups presented theses to be debated at the National Congress, held
August 31 through September 2 in Sao Paulo (ref B).

3. (SBU) The strongest is known as the "Majority Camp" (CM), a
centrist, pragmatic group which claims a number of major figures in
the party and in the government, including incumbent PT President
Ricardo Berzoini; former Lula Chief of Staff Jose Dirceu; PT First
Vice-President and Lula foreign affairs advisor Marco Aurelio
Garcia; Senator Aloizio Mercadante (Sao Paulo); and
Secretary-General of the Presidency Luiz Dulci. President Lula's

SIPDIS
sympathies are with this group, though he also has close friends in
other factions. Despite its name, the CM controls only 40 to 50
percent of the PT National Directorate (DN). The CM is diverse,
with members drawn from the labor movement and academia as well as
federal and state legislatures. It has various sub-groups and
special-interest lobbies and does not necessarily act en bloc. The
CM is known by other names, including the name of its thesis,
"Constructing a New Brazil." Estimates of its delegate strength at
the National Congress range from 45 percent to 51 percent. (Note:
Many delegates' sympathies or affiliation are unknown, unclear, or
multiple. End Note.)

--------------
THE DISSIDENTS
--------------

4. (SBU) The second group calls itself "The PT and the Democratic
Revolution," but is more commonly known as "Message to the Party"
after a thesis first published in January (ref D) which has since

SAO PAULO 00000742 002.2 OF 004


been elaborated. Justice Minister Tarso Genro leads the group; the
Governors of Para and Sergipe, various prominent legislators, and
several state PT Chairmen are members. Part of its support stems
from the rivalry between the Rio Grande do Sul (RS) party and the
powerful Sao Paulo party machine. Genro is a former Mayor of Porto
Alegre whom many expect to run for Governor of Rio Grande do Sul
(RS) in 2010. In 2005, at Lula's request, he resigned his position
as Minister of Education to become acting PT President after three
party leaders, including then President Jose Genoino, were forced to
resign in the wake of the "mensalao" vote-buying scandal (ref G).
The "Message" group includes other well-known "gauchos" like former
RS Governor Olivio Dutra (see ref F), former Agricultural
Development Minister Miguel Rosseto, and RS state legislator Raul
Pont, until recently PT Secretary-General.

5. (SBU) The PT of RS, Brazil's southernmost state, considers
itself ideologically more consistent (i.e., more easily identifiable
with a leftist agenda) and more immune to corruption than the CM as
a whole and especially the Sao Paulo PT. Many in RS and in the PT's
left wing blame the PT's woes on a clique of Sao Paulo CM members
who forgot their mission. Unsurprisingly, several well-known
leftist thinkers, such as Ricardo Azevedo, head of the Fundacao
Perseu Abramo, the PT's think tank, and party ideologist Marilena
Chaui, professor of political philosophy at the University of Sao
Paulo, adhere to the "Message" group. Their "message" is that the
PT needs to recognize the ethical problems that led to the 2005
corruption scandal and take measures to recover its ruined
reputation as the party of ethics.

6. (SBU) This is not a message that people such as CM leader Jose
Dirceu, expelled from Congress, banned from politics, and on trial
for corruption in the "mensalao" vote-buying scandal (ref A), are
prepared to hear. Many prominent CM members deny the corruption
charges and see the scandal as an unfortunate but unavoidable result
of Brazil's political system, in which a president must stitch
together a coalition with patronage and pork barrel spending.

7. (SBU) Indeed, for much of the PT, the scandal was vastly
overblown by hostile mainstream media in the pay of political and
economic elites. "This is something laughable. The 'mensalao'
never existed," PT President Berzoini reiterated recently. Former
Sao Paulo Mayor and now Tourism Minister Marta Suplicy has been
heard to say much the same thing. At the height of the scandal in
2005, the PT's social movements (CUT, MST, and UNE) published a
statement decrying "golpismo" - an attempt to overthrow a
democratically elected government - by media and political
opponents. The PT as a whole sees the entire story as irrefutable
evidence of the critical need for wholesale political reform. But
Genro and his supporters also call for a return to the party's
foundations as the uncorrupted voice of the left and a turn away
from the "business as usual" approach they see overtaking the party
since it won control of the federal government. This faction is
believed to control about 15 to 20 percent of the delegates to the
Congress.

---------------------------
SMALL BUT NOT TO BE IGNORED
---------------------------

8. (U) A third group, the "PT Movement," is led by Federal Deputy
Maria do Rosario (RS) and counts among its members Arlindo
Chinaglia, President of the Chamber of Deputies. This is another
centrist group which often supports the CM in internal debates and
provides the votes to give it a majority in the National Directorate
when needed. The PT Movement has the support of perhaps 10-12
percent of the delegates.

SAO PAULO 00000742 003.2 OF 004

9. (U) The Axis of the Left is the faction of Valter Pomar, PT
Secretary of International Relations (see refs C and E), one of the

SIPDIS
PT's more vocal leftists and a frequent critic of the CM and the
Lula administration, though a staunch defender of the PT against
outside critics. The thesis of this group, which commands the
support of 6-7 percent of the delegates, is called "Hope is Red".

10. (SBU) Two other small factions merit mention because they may
have influence beyond their size. "Novo Rumo" or New Course is led
by Rui Falcao, a state legislator who served as Secretary of
Municipal Government (Chief of Staff equivalent) to Sao Paulo Mayor
Marta Suplicy (2001-04) and was her running mate in her unsuccessful
2004 re-election bid. New Course is strong only in Sao Paulo and
Paraiba states and is supported by only about 6 percent of the party
faithful nationwide, but it is the second-largest faction in Sao
Paulo state (with about 20 percent) and the largest in the city.
Ideologically compatible with the CM - Falcao told Poloff he might
be able to support Berzoini for another term as PT President if he
made certain concessions and commitments - New Course appears to be
a vehicle for Marta Suplicy to run for Mayor again in 2008 and for
higher political office beyond next year.

11. (SBU) The "PT of the Struggles and of the Masses, Socialist and
in Solidarity" is another small Sao Paulo-based faction, with the
support of perhaps 13 percent in the state, and led by federal
deputy Jilmar Tatto, PT Second Vice-President and leader of an
influential local political family. While this party espouses a
leftist ideology, it is also believed to be a Marta Suplicy group,
as Tatto is well-known as one of her most important political
organizers. (Note: Suplicy is officially a member of the CM and is
believed to be favored by CM leader Jose Dirceu, but this does not
preclude her having two smaller factions advancing her interests.
End Note.) FPA President Azevedo told us it was not inconceivable
that New Course and "Struggles and Masses" might find sufficient
common ground to form an alliance, which would become the PT's
largest faction in Sao Paulo state. Suplicy's own intentions remain
unclear: On the one hand, Rui Falcao himself told us it was
politically necessary for her to disavow any intention to run for
Mayor in 2008, as she did publicly in August, but that he and others
in the party continue to work night and day to prepare the way for
her candidacy. If she runs for Mayor and wins, she immediately
moves to the top of the list of possible PT 2010 presidential
candidates. But, as Azevedo pointed out, she faces a very tough
opponent in either former Governor Geraldo Alckmin or incumbent
Mayor Gilberto Kassab, and if she loses she could easily be
consigned to political oblivion.

12. (U) Note: It is notable that Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul
are home to a seemingly disproportionate number of PT national
leaders and influential politicians, even as many "petistas" - as PT
members are called - see Sao Paulo as "enemy territory," a
stronghold of the opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party
(PSDB). The south and southeast seem to breed PT leaders. Ballot
box popularity does not translate into strong leaders. Lula won 66
percent of the 2006 second-round vote in the north, and the PT has
two governors of northern states (Ana Julia Carepa of Para and Binho
Marques of Acre), but neither is considered a party leader, due in
part to their small power bases. Likewise, former Acre Governor
Jorge Viana is widely respected and has been spoken of as a possible
dark horse for the PT Presidency, but has virtually no national
profile because he comes from a small, remote state. In the
northeast, where Lula did even better, with 77 percent of the vote,
and where nearly half the population benefits from the government's
"Bolsa Familia" program, Governor Marcelo Deda of Sergipe and
especially Governor Jaques Wagner of Bahia have some influence

SAO PAULO 00000742 004.2 OF 004


within the party. Both are considered close to Lula, but Wagner is
associated with the CM and Deda with the Message to the Party.
Petistas are Mayors of several large northeastern cities, but again,
these are local rather than national powers. A variety of
socio-economic and political factors, including the regional
strength of other leftist parties, a tradition of local political
strongmen ("coronelismo"), and a paucity of strong labor unions, may
help explain why the northeast, home to so many PT voters, has
produced so few national PT leaders. End Note.

--------
THE REST
--------

13. (U) Six more groups remain, even smaller and mostly on the
left, whose theses have such names as "Development, Democracy with
Citizen Participation and Diversity;" "Dreams For All! Struggles For
All!"; and "For a Militant and Socialist PT". The last-named, for
example, outlines a "National Sovereignty Platform" calling for the
annulment of the privatization of mega-mining concern Rio Doce
Valley Company (CVRD), revocation of the Fiscal Responsibility Law,
withdrawal of Brazilian peacekeepers from Haiti, and an end to the
"ethanol agreement with Bush". PT President Berzoini and other CM
members have pledged to keep the smaller factions from disrupting
the Congress.

-------
COMMENT
-------

14. (SBU) The CM continues to occupy a strong position within the
PT, but it does not dominate the party as it has in the past. The
dissidents and some of the leftist factions will push hard on the
corruption issue, and the timing of the Supreme Court's decision to
accept the charges in the "mensalao" case could undermine the CM as
well. The dissidents and others on the left will also continue to
agitate for a return to ideological purity and founding principles.
This struggle will play out in the months ahead in internal party
elections and in the controversy over whether the PT will run its
own presidential candidate in 2010 and begin now to prepare the way,
or whether it may consider supporting a candidate from another party
within President Lula's governing coalition. End Comment.

15. (U) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Brasilia.

WHITE

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